Sunday, April 22, 2012

PickleWorks & Pancakes

pickleworks gate

PickleWorks Gate part of a commercial project by Pyatok Architects. As seen on our walk to Doyle Street Cafe for Sunday Brunch..

blue corn pancakes w/ chicken apple sausage
Sean had blue corn pancakes which he loved!

and I had the eggwhite scramble (served with homefries and cornbread!) I opted to have a side order of chicken-apple sausage.. I was full for the rest of the day, FWIW. =)
egg white scramble (home fries & cornbread!) w/ side of chicken apple sausage

Cal Day 2012

Saturday the 21st was "Cal Day 2012" on the UC Berkeley Campus.. sort of an Open House for students, parents and the public at large.. Sean convinced me to tag along with him and we had a pretty good time. The weather was amazing.. and amazingly hot.. We got a lot of walking in and enjoyed the day..

Along with books for sale on the third floor of Doe Library, the first floor had a room full of maps the school was selling.. Here a couple people browse through a very small amount of what was actually available for sale:

Tours of original Cal buildings.. this group was at South Hall:

A couple members of the Cal "Rally Comm" precedes the Cal Band as they run up the steps to the front of Sproul Hall for a short pep rally:
Cal Rally

Everyone's here for the rally: the Cal Band, cheerleaders, Rally Committee, and of course Oski.. It's a very ubiquitous view of the Cal campus with the Campanile in the background:

Sean in front of Founder's Rock:

While we were unable to get a seat at a lecture by Robert Reich (School of Public Policy), we were able to in Stanley Hall where Professor Alex Filippenko was giving a short talk on the upcoming Annular Eclipse on May 20th and the Transit of Venus:
Alex Filippenko

One of the passive ways to enjoy Cal day was to take in the "Tree Museum" scattered around campus.. Here's a really cool buckeye:

All the walking and fun made us hungry so we ended the day the best way possible: We headed to Top Dog!
Late lunch at Top Dog!

serving out the dogs

Lemon-Chicken for me!
Lemon Chicken for me!

at the door

Friday, April 20, 2012

Emeryville Fire Department

I'm betting there are some folks that wondered how long it would take me to shoot a couple pix of our local fire department (since I have been known to get shots and video of LAFD these past years in Downtown LA).

These were taken earlier tonight:

Emeryville Fire Department


Emeryville Fire Department

Conveniently enough, this vehicle was parked outside the IHOP next to the bustop where we caught the Emery-Go-Round to Berkeley Bowl (grocery/produce market on San Pablo).

I read somewhere that Emeryville was considering at some point to either outsource their fire fighting with Alameda County Fire or disolve the fire department itself (allowing that Alameda County would have transitioned over).. I don't know if this would actually happen. Currently there are two Fire Stations serving Emeryville:

Station 1 on Powell near Watergate
Station 2 on Doyle near 63rd..

Emeryville Fire Department started serving the city in 1912 after the first fire station was built in 1910.. (according to the City of Emeryville website) despite the city's incorporation of 1896. It took a serious and devastating fire to convince Emeryville city leaders they needed their own fire department.

I'm sure Emeryville residents are grateful.. As a new resident myself, I know I am.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sunset on Solano Avenue

Sean's baseball and beer batter birthday get-together got rained out due to rainy conditions from the previous night's passing storm..

We headed to Berkeley for our favorite pizza instead.. and caught the last light of day:

Sunset on Solano

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ratz on the Bridge

Walking to IKEA last night reminded me that I'd taken a shot of a little mouse on the bridge a couple days before and forgot to post it; first piece of stencil art I've seen walking around. Hopefully it's not the only bit of urban art to be found (that's not city approved I mean).


Sunday, April 08, 2012

Easter Sunday Breakfast @ Doyle Street!

Doyle Street Cafe menu
Doyle Street Cafe menu

Doyle Street Cafe was one of our favorite places to have Sunday brunch the years before we moved to SoCal. The staff is always super friendly, and the service (in our experience) is always really good. It's a great local and loyal crowd I would say, and even if they don't know your name, they seem to remember you when you come back often enough like we did and will do again.

These past eight years, we'd visit back home once or twice a year maybe, rotating through our top three or so favorite places. We tried to make Doyle Street a stop every trip.. The staff would seem to remember us, and one person would even ask "you move back yet??" =) Suffice to say, when Sean suggested we walk over there from home this morning, I immediately agreed! This was our first meal at Doyle Street as permanent residents again! I ran to get my shoes and sweater for the walk.

Turns out the walk wasn't much further than walking to Rudy's.. just in a northerly direction.

We got seated and Sean got comfy:
Sean in his usual comfy position..

I usually order the chorizo scramble or the "Joe's Special" but that's because I never know when I'm going to get to come back for another visit. Since we're locals again now, I went for the "home fries heaven" ('add bacon' option):
home fries heaven (with bacon added)

Add a side of corn bread, because you just HAVE TO!!
OMG cornbread!

Sean's Easter feast:
potatocake served w/ eggs scrambled, corn bread & side of bacon
Potato Cake, scrambled eggs & cornbread with a side order of bacon

We were stuffed.. Well, I was stuffed!!! You have no idea how good it felt to be sipping my coffee, relaxing, not feeling rushed to get to get to the airport, or worried about how the line at TSA would be.. Just being "home" home.

stuffed & happy
A Very Happy Easter! It's good being home!

Doyle Street Cafe
5515 Doyle St # 10
Emeryville, CA 94608
(510) 547-3552

Their website seems to be in flux but you can read the Yelp reviews, if you want..

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Eat For Free

So now and again Ikea has these special offers.. The weekend of the 7th, they had their 'eat for free' special. This is where you have dinner at the IKEA Cafe and then take your receipt and get the amount of your dinner discounted off a purchase of $100 or more (before tax). We were planning to buy our PAX wardrobe unit (the big wooden cabinet thing that the drawers we had previously purchased get installed) and a new mattress, so we definitely would have qualified.

They had a plate of shortribs we spotted an IKEA employee getting served up for dinner. We had a big breakfast earlier so I wasn't exactly starving and wasn't sure if I wanted meatballs or.. hey.. that looked good! Look at all those ribs! Being the skeptic I am prone to be (some call it being negative but you can never be sure about things you know?) I muttered to Sean "it's probably cause he's an employee and he asked for that extra bit.."

NOPE! That's really a half rack o' ribs!
Babyback Ribs @ IKEA

We ended up splitting the plate of ribs and a couple sodas. It was more than enough for the two of us. The ribs were meaty and fall off the bone like good ribs should be. The sauce was thick and tangy sweet. It was served with fries and a muffin of some kind. I wouldn't call it cornbread but honestly for the price (like $6 I think for a half rack) you can't go wrong.

Who'd have thunk you'd get really good ribs at IKEA?? Seriously. I can't wait to have them again.. but I'm wanting to try Rudy's next. Rudy's does a rib special on Saturday & Sunday I think.

I would totally order these ribs at IKEA again though.. As for the 'eat for free' that didn't happen as we forgot to check to see if our PAX was in stock before having dinner. Turns out we would need to return the next Monday evening to purchase the PAX (and our new mattress which had delivered to us the following day).

This is the first installment of what I'm going to call "IKEA Adventures" and I figure we're going to have a lot of these so it's worth it.. And yes.. as I'm posting this it's not actually the 7th of April.. but this when this particular IKEA adventure happened.

Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe Pt 2 (Good Friday edition)

As mentioned in the previous post, Rudy's is one of our favorite places to eat over the last few years we've come home to visit the Bay Area from Downtown LA. We usually eat breakfast here so having an opportunity to try the various menu items and specials is becoming a real treat!

Shakin' Jessie
The "Shakin' Jessie" forever taunting us when we either are there too early or too stuffed to try it.

Being "Good Friday" Sean was thinking about Rudy's Fish & Chips Friday Special. I looked over the menu online and decided that I wanted to see what their Crunchy Asian Tofu Salad was like. I was hoping the tofu would be battered and fried, and if not I was ready to try something else.. Rudy's has a large selection vegetarian dishes on their menu, as well items that can be made vegetarian on request. The taco salad with veggie chili as an option was appealing to me, or possibly a cheese quesadilla with possibly some grilled vegetables added.

Ready for dinner, we took the walk over to 40th, near Park and Hollis. Unlike other times we'd been there it was pretty busy, and we put our name down but didn't have to wait long, as we got a couple seats at the counter. Shortly after sitting down, we've decided we *will* be ordering dessert, as it's the best chance to give the "Shakin' Jessie" a try.

We start with an order of Buffalo Tofu:
Buffalo Tofu
Buffalo Tofu: served with carrots and celery and option of blue cheese or ranch dipping sauce.

Buffalo Tofu center
firm tofu center with crispy fried outside, sauce was spicy but not especially "spicy hot"

For our entrees, I went with the Crunchy Asian Tofu Salad. Our server, who was super nice & helpful convinced me to give the salad a try. I'm already missing the Crispy Tofu Balls (and chopped salad) from Starry Kitchen but know there has to be something I will enjoy almost as much.. somewhere.

Crunchy Asian Tofu Salad
Crunchy Asian Tofu Salad: tossed in Sesame Soy Vinagarette, served with multicolor cabbage, carrots, romaine, cucumbers, sliced avocado, sesame seeds and sprouts

Salad was 'very hearty' as our server described it. The tofu was the same crispy tofu that served as the base for the buffalo tofu, but I missed the buffalo sauce. Since it was a salad, this crispy tofu was served cold. I definitely loved the salad, but probably would have liked it better without the cold tofu.

Sean ordered Friday's Special and opted for a side salad:
Side salad.. option served with dinner special

Mr Roadie's Fish & Chips
Mr Roadie's Fish and Chips: breaded fried cod served with french fries, cole slaw, and tarter sauce

The Fries were crispy on the outside and seasoned. The malt vinegar was a nice addition that Sean added, but was not necessary. Battered and fried cod.. Sean said it was good 'but not the best' he's had. I don't eat fish, so I don't have an opinion to add. I did like the fries and I would order them with something if given an opportunity on another visit.

And now.. for dessert! I know, we definitely should have passed on it, but for whatever reason, Sean decided he would order the Shakin' Jessie and not share it. I wasn't sure if the Guinness, expresso and chocolate ice cream shake would be to my liking, so I decided to get the "ultimate chocolate cake" as it seemed it would compliment Sean's choice better than the strawberry rhubarb pie I was tempted to order. =)

Shakin' Jessie and Ultimate Chocolate Cake (a la mode)

I had a sip or two of the Shakin' Jessie, and yes, you can taste the Guinness Stout, but it compliments the shake really well. My 'ultimate chocolate cake' was a darker, rich chocolate with hints of a liquor flavoring that I forgot to ask about.. There's no description of the cake on the menu. Suffice to say it was very rich and the a la mode option broke through the richness of the cake and frosting just enough without taking away its decadence.

I honestly couldn't decide which dessert I liked better. Sean, on the other hand, loved his Shakin' Jessie. I liked his shake enough I would order it for myself in the future and not share it. The ultimate chocolate cake was pretty good though, and I can see it being a 'go-to' dessert on those chocolate craving days.

Rudy's has a huge and varied menu, and while not everything is "amazing" it's still very very good. The service is always friendly, despite sometimes being busy. I know we'll keep coming back because over-all we've been very happy with the food and with the service. It's one of our top three or four favorite places to eat breakfast in our area, so you know we'll be back for another round of "My own Private Eyedaho"(my favorite breakfast dish) or possibly the Meatless Soyrizo Scramble, which caught my eye on the menu today.

Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe
4081 Hollis Street
Emeryville, CA 94608